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Sunday NFL Best Bets, Week 8

The Seattle Seahawks had no plans of seeing the New England Patriots during the 2018 regular season, but they get a chance Sunday to face a familiar ex-Pat in Matt Patricia. We have the Seahawks and Lions booked in our first NFL Best Bet of Week 8, followed by an ATS prediction for the Ravens and Panthers.

 

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS at DETROIT LIONS

Over/Under Odds: 48.5

As D-Co of the Pats from 2012-17, Patricia and Seahawks HC Pete Carroll went toe-to-toe three times and all three games went over the total. Seattle had a 2-1 upper hand in those games but Patricia and the Pats won the big prize with Super Bowl XLIX. Patricia’s defense was good, not great that year and he was brought into Detroit to improve a unit that ranked 30th overall last season. We’ll call this a work in progress.

 

Other than a big win over his former team in Week 3, the Lions have allowed 29.6 points per game (PPG). They are 29th against the rush and allowing 5.3 yards per carry, which is highest in the league.  Detroit brought in Damon Harrison from the Giants this week to help shore up the interior, and Harrison should expect a healthy dose from a Seahawks team that leads the league in rush-play percentage at 49.5%.

 

Carroll and O-Co Brian Schottenheimer will no doubt alter their gameplan accordingly, but we should still see plenty of pounding as the Hawks look to wear down Detroit’s front seven and setup some big plays for WR Doug Baldwin out of the slot. Injured in Week 1, Baldwin (knee) missed three starts but he’s been back for three games since with 12 receptions. Still no TDs for the stud WR but he had eight in 2017 and the Hawks are 9-2 O/U following Baldwin’s past 11 games with five-plus catches.

 

Seattle is off a bye and they are 4-1 O/U their past five games with extra prep. They won 24-7 at New York last year off a regular season bye but they probably knew full well that the woeful 1-5 Giants had no hope in scoring points against them. That’s not the case in this game.

 

The Lions have scored 30-plus points in back-to-back games and QB Matthew Stafford is 10-4 O/U his past 14 home games against teams with a .500 or better record. In closely matched games, the Lions have been a great “Over” play vs. teams with an average or better defense. The Lions are 3-1 O/U in this spot since the start of 2017 and 16-6 O/U if we look further back.

 

The Lions are averaging 122 rushing yards per game and away from the Clink, the Hawks are 20-12 O/U against closely matched teams that consistently run well. They are also 14-3-1 ATS their past 18 in this range but we feel this game is going to go back and forth, coming down to whoever has the football last. The value is on the total and we are booked for our best bet of the week.

WEEK 8 BEST BET TOTAL: Seahawks-Lions OVER

 

BALTIMORE RAVENS at CAROLINA PANTHERS

NFL Odds: Ravens -3

The Ravens were victims to an unlikely defeat against the Saints last week, missing out on a shot to at least force overtime when Mr. Reliable, Justin Tucker, duffed the first extra point attempt of his career in the final minute. The miss ended Tucker’s incredible streak of 222 consecutive hits, including 112-straight since the distance for converts was extended in 2015.

 

Baltimore is 2-2 on the road thus far, shutting out the Titans in their latest road start two weeks ago. Baltimore has Pittsburgh on-deck and since 2014, the Ravens are 2-8 ATS when looking ahead to a matchup vs. the Steelers. One of those wins was earlier this year against the Broncos but first of all, that was the Broncos. Second, it was at home.

 

Panthers HC Ron Rivera is a competitive guy and he’ll field a good effort every week of the season, but there is no denying Riverboat Ron’s love for home field. Since taking over the team he has posted a 41-22 straight up record at Bank of America vs. a .500 record in 60 road games. Rivera’s current win streak at BOA Stadium is at eight-straight and when the line was inside of three points, he’s 10-6 SU/ATS including a current run of five-straight covers.

 

The Panthers had a close call of their own in their most recent home game, needing every bit of Graham Gano’s long bomb field goal to edge the Giants 33-31. Gano was 4-for-4 in that game and he’s hit 37-of-38 the past two years combined. It’s a skill that could come in handy as these two heavyweights play what is sure to be another close game.

 

The Panthers will look to establish the ground game early and home teams in the NFL that can rush for more than 135 yards have a 70-percent shot at winning any time vs. an opponent that carries for less than 100 per game (Ravens = 96 RYPG). When the home side also boasts a top 10 rushing D, the straight up win percentage jumps to .750 and we start expecting a lower scoring, ground it out type of contest. Eliminate the big favorites from this situation and we are sitting with a strong SU/ATS win record of 39-20 the past while, where the average total was 43.

 

Carolina needed a big fourth quarter against Philly and that should serve as an easy reminder that they need to start strong. Home teams on normal rest that just took down a reigning Super Bowl champ are often overpriced, laying -4.5 or -5 points, but not the Panthers. Regardless of the line, these teams are 14-2 SU/ATS and 11-4-1 ATS since realignment and four of the past five winners were by double-digits. Carolina hasn’t had this kind of balance in a while and given the small line and fact they are on home field, we are expecting Ron Rivera to take full advantage of these matchups.

WEEK 8 BEST BET SIDE: Take the Panthers

 

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